Steven R. Morrison

Associate Professor of Law, University of North Dakota School of Law

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About Steven

Morrison’s general areas of expertise are criminal and constitutional law. More specifically, his criminal law work involves concepts of group crime, such as conspiracy, complicity, material support for terrorist groups, and collective action and culpability. His constitutional law work centers on the First Amendment rights of free speech, association, and assembly. He has also done work involving religious liberty, the fundamental right to marry, and reproductive rights. Morrison is actively engaged with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. As a member of several committees, he has drafted reports on warranted searches of digital evidence and new Federal Sentencing Guideline provisions, and has co-created and hosted a heavily-attended webinar on criminal conspiracy. He is also a member of a committee in North Dakota that opposes a Personhood Amendment, which appeared on the North Dakota ballot in fall of 2014.

In the News

Quoted by Raju Chaduvula in "Change or Distraction? Petition Seeks to Rewrite Constitutional Language on Who Can Vote," Grand Forks Herald, June 17, 2018.
Quoted by Blake Gumprecht in "Legal Experts Say Crews May Face Less than Maximum Penalty for Role in LaFontaine-Greywind Murder," Superior Telegram, January 31, 2018.
Quoted by Andrew Hazzard in "Focus on Reform: North Dakota Uses Education, Work to Prepare Prisoners for Re-Entry," The Bismarck Tribune, October 14, 2017.
Guest on North Dakota Valley News, April 26, 2017.
Research discussed by Andrew Hazzard, in "Report Examines Best Practices for Officer Body Cameras," West Fargo Pioneer, March 17, 2017.
Quoted by Rebecca McCray in "This Drone Law Put Privacy Front and Center but Left Out Something Even Scarier," Take Part, September 1, 2015.
Opinion: "Amendment Could Trump N.D.’s End-of-Life Statutes," Steven R. Morrison, Grand Forks Herald, August 17, 2014.
Opinion: "How Measure 1 Threatens End-of-Life Care," Steven R. Morrison, Bismarck Tribune, August 16, 2014.
Opinion: "Personhood Measure is Scary," Steven R. Morrison, Fargo Forum, July 19, 2014.
Opinion: "Should the Personhood Amendment Scare You? Yes," Steven R. Morrison, Grand Forks Herald, July 16, 2014.
Quoted by Robin Huebner in "Fargo Clinic Far Away from Buffer-Zone Legal Fray," Fargo Forum, March 1, 2014.
Opinion: "Housing Discrimination is Not a 1st Amendment Right," Steven R. Morrison, Grand Forks Herald, October 4, 2013.
Quoted by Andrew Harris in "New Abortion Restrictions in States Are 0 for 8 in Courts," Bloomberg News, August 19, 2013.
Guest on WDAZ’s Valley News Live, May 2-3, 2013.
Guest on WBUR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook, April 1, 2013.
Guest on MPR’s Daily Circuit, March 18, 2013.
Opinion: "Drones are Coming: HB 1373 is Waiting and Ready," Steven R. Morrison, Bismarck Tribune, March 9, 2013.
Opinion: "N.D. Bill Strikes Right Balance on Drones," Steven R. Morrison, Grand Forks Herald, March 7, 2013.
Opinion: "Measure 3 Would Create System of Inequality in Laws," Steven R. Morrison, Fargo Forum, May 29, 2012.
Opinion: "Measure 3 Makes Some More Equal Than Others," Steven R. Morrison, Grand Forks Herald, May 27, 2012.
Quoted by in "Editorial: A Misleading Push for Religious Liberty," Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 24, 2012.


"Defending Vicarious Felony Murder" Texas Tech Law Review (forthcoming).
Provides a defense of vicarious felony murder, which is much vilified in large part because it is misunderstood.
"Brandenburg for Groups" Lewis & Clark Law Review (forthcoming).
Argues in favor of a First Amendment test, inspired by Brandenburg v. Ohio’s test for speech, that can protect the rights to associate and assemble.
"Requiring Proof of Conspiratorial Dangerousness" Tulsa Law Review 88 (2014).
Works to resolve the conceptual conflict between Neal Kumar Katyal’s observation that conspiracies are particularly dangerous, and Abraham Goldstein’s argument that there is in fact no evidence of increased danger. The article argues that dangerousness of a conspiracy ought to be shown before criminal liability can attach.
"The System of Domestic Counterterrorism Law Enforcement" Stanford Law & Policy Review 25 (2014).
Presents the normative and outcome reliability problems inherent in the expanded domestic war on terror. In this war, error rates increase, leading to false investigations and convictions, and excessive punishment.
"Conspiracy Law’s Threat to Free Speech" University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 15 (2013).
Establishes and describes the conflict between conspiracy law and free speech.
"When is Lying Illegal? When Should It Be? A Critical Analysis of the Federal False Statements Act" John Marshall Law Review 43 (2009).
Analyzes the Federal False Statements Act and criticizes it from a normative, conceptual, and jurisprudential standpoint.